Sentencing set for Cuban ballplayer smuggling head

Author: Associated Press
Published: Updated:
MGN Online

MIAMI (AP) – Sentencing is set for the convicted ringleader of a smuggling organization that brought more than 1,000 Cubans into the U.S, including several baseball players.

Eliezer Lazo could get up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Monday in federal court in Miami. Lazo pleaded guilty in August to extortion charges involving the Cuban migrants, including Texas Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin. Other ballplayers are identified only by initials.

The organization brought the Cubans by boat to Mexico and then crossed the U.S. border in Texas for $10,000 per person, more for ballplayers. Court documents show the smugglers paid fees to the Zetas drug cartel to operate in their territory in Mexico.

Lazo is already serving a five-year sentence for money laundering in an unrelated Medicare fraud case.

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